Imagine talking to a man who is very angry. He is highly agitated. Let's say you're trying to reason with him about something. Can you see he would not be able to reason very well? Or make sensible decisions? Or act in his own best interests, let alone the best interests of those around him? Can you see that he would have fewer abilities than he normally has?
In other words, the same man when he is angry does more stupid and regrettable actions than he does in his normal state. In that sense, he is less intelligent when he is angry. Less sane. Less reasonable. He might be more capable in a violent encounter, but in all other ways, he is less capable.
Now imagine the same man deeply relaxed. Imagine him profoundly non-agitated. Imagine he has just finished meditating and feels totally at peace. Can you see that compared to the deeply non-agitated state, the man's normal state seems agitated, self-centered, and unhappy? "Normal" would seem less reasonable, less able to make sensible decisions, and less capable of acting even in his own best interests.
The tranquil state of mind, in other words, would be as exceptionally better than normal as the angry state would be worse than normal.
I was reading The Accidental Buddhist, the story of Dinty Moore and his adventures going to various Buddhist meditation retreats. One of his retreats was with the author of one of my favorite books on meditation (Mindfulness in Plain English), Bhante Gunaratana. Dinty noticed Bhante was very compassionate and kind and exceptionally at ease. Not all the meditation teachers he encountered were like that.
And Dinty also noted that during the sometimes very long meditations during the retreat, Bhante did all the meditation sessions with the students.
So here is a man who meditates a lot, and he seemed as far above normal as an angry man is below normal. It gives us a glimpse of what is possible for someone who is willing to take the time to meditate.
Would you like to be exceptional? Would you like to be the kind of person you always knew you really were? Deep non-agitation is the way. And the most reliable de-agitator is meditation.
Read more: Cure For Normal.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.